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Rebel: The Life and Times of John Singleton Mosby Paperback

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Frequently Bought Together

Rebel: The Life and Times of John Singleton Mosby + Mosby's Memoirs (Southern Classics Series) + Gray Ghost: The Life of Col. John Singleton Mosby
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books; Bison Books Ed edition (July 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803216092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803216099
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,394,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“To see a pure example of audacity and enterprise turn to Rebel. . . . It is a dramatic account of the extraordinary life of one of the most colorful and controversial figures on the Confederate side. . . . Rebel is a memorable account of a memorable maverick.”—Edmund Fuller, Wall Street Journal
(Edmund Fuller Wall Street Journal )

“The guerrilla warfare that radiated from ‘Mosby’s Confederacy’ . . . is recounted here skillfully and without overdramatization. What Siepel has achieved in addition is the documentation of Mosby’s long, colorful, and often paradoxical postwar career.”—Stephen W. Sears, Washington Post Book World
(Washington Post Book World )

“Kevin H. Siepel’s biography of John S. Mosby, the famous Confederate guerrilla leader, is a welcome addition to the long shelf of Civil War biographies. Aimed at the general reader rather than at scholars, it gallops along with a vigorous prose style. By devoting half of his pages to Mosby’s post-war career as a diplomat, civil servant, and lawyer, the author makes a worthy addition to our knowledge of ‘the gray ghost of the Confederacy.’”—Dallas Morning News
(Dallas Morning News )

“[Siepel] has created a truly great historical work on Mosby, a most colorful individual. The book is very well-written and factual, and it easily holds the attention of the reader. Relatively little has been written about Mosby, the man; Siepel has finally given us a comprehensive work that will stand alongside works of other great leaders. Rebel is recommended for both the student of war and politics and for the casual reader.”—Military Review
(Military Review )

“Siepel’s research—especially into manuscripts and newspapers—is impressive. His coverage of the war years is fast-paced and colorful, befitting the subject. . . . High marks.”—Richmond News Leader
(Richmond News Leader )

“The text is descriptive, illustrated, and detailed—as lively in its own way as Mosby’s Civil War raids themselves.”—Choice
(Choice )

From the Back Cover

John Singleton Mosby (1833-1916) was the Confederacy's best-known practitioner of guerrilla warfare. At heart a Unionist, he nonetheless joined the Southern cause when his home state of Virginia seceded. He served first in the cavalry and later as commander of a partisan unit in Northern Virginia, an area he so thoroughly dominated militarily that it became known on both sides as "Mosby's Confederacy."

He and his small band routed Federal cavalry, appropriated supplies, and destroyed communications and supply lines. His operations tied up such large numbers of Federal troops that sufficient force could not be gathered to break Robert E. Lee's army till April 1965. No other Confederate officer received as many commendations from Lee as did Mosby. His narrow escapes and impossible exploits (including the capture of a Union general from his bed) earned him status as a cavalry commander equal to Stuart and Forrest, and a preeminence among the partisan leaders of history.

Mosby was only 31 when the war ended. Rebel fully explores his long and eventful career: his political battles; his close friendships with former enemies; his association with presidents from Ulysses S. Grant to Theodore Roosevelt; his service as U.S. consul in Hong Kong; and his involvement in the West's range-fencing crisis. In the process this book reveals the fierce independence and eccentric vision of one of America's most controversial, uncompromising figures. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Kevin H. Siepel is the author of the benchmark biography of Confederate cavalry officer John S. Mosby, Rebel: The Life and Times of John Singleton Mosby, and the local history, Joseph Bennett of Evans and the Growing of New York's Niagara Frontier. His personal essays and historical articles have been published widely. Currently writing a book on the Spanish conquest of the Americas, he also works as an editor in the environmental field. He lives in western New York state.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By M. Smith on July 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
Had John Singleton Mosby fought on the winning side in the American Civil War then I'm sure his exploits would now be the stuff of legend, committed a long time ago to celluloid. As it is he fought on the wrong side and was branded a "bandit" for his disruptive activities in Northern Virginia.
This book is a marvellous account of the life of a great man. Small in physical stature, he was nevertheless a giant of a man in all other respects and was both feared and respected by those who fought against him in the war between the States. Kevin Siepel's book tells the story of the man behind the myths; his childhood, wartime exploits and controversial post-war views which saw him shunned by the same 'South' who had worshipped during the conflict.
I enjoyed every last page and was almost sad to get to the end. There was so much to Mosby that I feel the book could have been double the size it actually is - and that's where I draw my only criticism. I felt there should have been more details of his war time exploits. There's plenty there but I feel there could and should have been more.
Overall though I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was always inclined to like it because Mosby is a hero of mine, but it does do justice to the telling of the story of his incredible life. Kevin Siepel is to be congratulated for his magnificent efforts and I would heartily recommend this book not only to any American Civil War enthusiasts but to anybody who would like to read about an extraordinary man and his equally extraordinary life.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By V. Protopapas on July 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
Author Siepel, like all of those who cover Mosby's post-war career, seems to find the fact that the former Confederate became a Republican something so unusual as to be indicative of his natural proclivity for rebellion. The fact is, however, that it was anything but an unusual manifestation of Mosby's political philosophy.

Very few of those who have written about the man give much ink to Mosby's PRE-war politics save only in passing. If they had, they would have made considerably less of his POST-war politics. For John Singleton Mosby was NEVER a Democrat. He had very little use for that party and still less use for it after the war. Mosby was a "Henry Clay Whig", a member of the political party that gave rise to the Republicans. Among other prominent "Northern" policies, Mosby believed in public education. Indeed, after the war he stated that slavery would never have lasted as an institution had education been available to the average Southerner instead of just those with enough money to afford it. As well, Mosby saw the internecine fighting in the Democrat party as the reason for Lincoln's election (it was) and at the time of secession, backed the Democrat-Unionist candidate rather than the Democrat-secessionist.

After the war, it is true that Mosby supported Democrats, but that was locally for to do otherwise was to support the Radicals and their party of occupation. He was a conservative white Southerner, a man who wished to see Southern whites back in charge of their local and state governments and blacks back in their place. But it is well to remember that the concept of white supremacy was universal those days.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. S. Harris on September 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mosby's Memoirs was the first book I read on John S Mosby, at least in my adult life. I grew up in northern Virginia at a place where his exploits took place and he was a legend and my idol as we played boys games of war. I was always Mosby. About that time there was a black and white TV show called the "Gray Ghost." This fueled my fire for Mosby. But boys become men and I forgot about my hero till many years later, now in my 60s.

Only now as a veteran Army Infantry Captain and Vietnam war helicopter pilot do I realize what a great impact the life of this man has had on me and so much I have done.

Siepel's book gives us a look at much more than just the exploits, if you can say the words, "just the exploits" about Mosby. For as a student of history and military history it is hard to find a comparison to what this man did. I carefully studied to try to find the key. How do you routinely route and defeat 200 of the best equipped and trained cavalry the Union army has to offer with 30 men? And this is not just a single incident, this was routine! What was the key? In Siebel's book I thought I could find it in Mosby's later life. As he bloomed in years perhaps the flowers essence would at last reveal itself. And, subtly it does. I don't want to spoil the book for you, but in it you will find the story of a man who shoots a bully in college and goes to jail, starts Confederate army life as a private and ends it as a Lt. Colonel, and is commended by none other than Robert E. Lee more than any other officer. (For those who do not know, generals do not often take notice of Lt. Colonels, must less commend them).

After the war this "god" of war has a checkered and interesting career. Just as in army life, he never puts himself or his gain first.
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